tcastleb: (Pooka)
( Apr. 27th, 2009 05:07 pm)
Now that my brain isn't mush (due to lots of useful feedback and lots of driving) here's a more formal write-up of my sojurn into the desert for a long weekend at [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse's writing and communing with horses.

Horse Camp takes place out just southeast of Tucson. I drove out since I'm just over in San Diego (six hours away) though the Tucson airport is pretty darn close if you'd rather fly. Desert. So if you like heat and cacti (like I do) you're in for a treat. Plenty of wildlife, quail, roadrunners, various other birds, lizards, rabbits, and if you're lucky, you'll get to see this guy:
cut for lots of pics and some more description. )

And then there was the writing bit. [livejournal.com profile] birdhousefrog got more writing done, since she was there longer than I was and had some specific goals in mind. Me, I didn't end up getting any done. I'd done a bit of on-line mentoring with [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse beforehand on my novel, and I'd sent her a short story (which was related to the book) just before I got there. So I got the feedback for the story, and ended up thinking over that rather than writing. And petting horses. And digging through some of J's books for writing examples. Lots of good things to think about. And horse camp also includes some one-on-one mentoring, so [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse and I had a good discussion about specific writing things as well coming up with some plot and story and worldbuilding ideas for the novel and short story. Good enough that the first chance I got I ran (okay, walked briskly) to the library for some research materials. :>)

Overall, it's totally worth it. I've done Clarion, and Taos Toolbox and gotten an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and even this brief little writing weekend is entirely comparable to any of those. The best part is just being able to get away from real life and write (or try to. Or think about it. Hard.) which is part of the attraction of the formal programs. Doing it with a good writing friend makes it even better. The horses make it unique. And J is one of the most knowledgable people I've met when it comes to writing and the business. Totally worth it, especially if the programs I mentioned above are out of your budget or if you know something's wrong/missing in your work and you don't know what it is. Even if you can't get there in person, the on-line mentoring is wonderfully useful as well.

And for me I thought it was really cool to see the parallel between riding and writing, or, really, any art in general. All these things to keep in your mind and practice (breathe, balance, loosen up vs. dialog, character, tension, prose) until you can do them naturally without thinking so hard. I haven't actually written since I've gotten back, just thinking. A lot. Researching. Letting the feedback sink in so when I get going again it'll be that much better.

Anyway. I can't wait to go back; I miss the horses terribly. And food. Yummy food, all the more yummy for someone who lives alone and doesn't cook a lot for herself. Homemade bread. Mmmmm. And for more detailed info from [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse, go read her post on How Horse Camp Works.

(and if this sounds like a sales pitch, well, it sort of is. :>) Go visit [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse online or in person. You won't regret it.)
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